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Gov. Scott Joins States Wanting to Restrict Syrian Refugees

Nov 16, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott today sent a letter to members of Congress asking them to block the use of federal tax dollars to resettle an estimated 425 Syrian refugees in the state.

Gov. Scott sent the letter to the new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and members of the Florida Congressional delegation.

He joins at least 12 other governors who say they will not accept Syrian refugees in their states in response to Friday's attacks in Paris.

Those states are Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Texas and Wisconsin. Their letters said their top concern has to be the safety of state residents, and they say there's a chance the refugees could include terrorists. (See the list below)

Here's a copy of the letter:

Here's a look at where some states stand:

ALABAMA

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley announced Sunday that he would refuse Syrian refugees relocating to the state, saying: "I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm's way." Bentley's news release said the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency was diligently working with federal officials to monitor any possible threats. There has been no credible intelligence of terror threats in Alabama so far, according to the governor's office.

ARKANSAS

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he opposes Syrian refugees being relocated to Arkansas. Hutchinson, a former undersecretary of the federal Department of Homeland Security, said he doesn't believe the United States should be a permanent place of relocation for the refugees and that he thinks Europe, Asia or Africa are logically the best places for resettlement or temporary asylum.

FLORIDA

Gov. Rick Scott is calling on Congress to block attempts by the Obama administration to relocate 425 Syrian refugees to Florida. The Republican governor on Monday wrote a letter to congressional leaders that asked them to take "immediate and aggressive action" to prevent the relocation of Syrian refugees without an "extensive evaluation" of the risk the refugees may pose to national security.

ILLINOIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner joined the growing list of Republican governors who announced they want to prevent Syrian refugees from relocating in their states. In a statement issued Monday, Rauner said the state will "temporarily suspend accepting new Syrian refugees and consider all of our legal options pending a full review of the process by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security."

IOWA

Saying he wants to protect residents of his state in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris, Gov. Terry Branstad acknowledged that governors might not be have the legal authority to prevent the Syrian refugees from relocating to their states because "this is a federal program." Still, the Republican said he wants more information from the federal government about where people are being placed and the vetting process.

INDIANA

Republican Gov. Mike Pence announced Monday that he was ordering state agencies to suspend the relocation of any more Syrian refugees to the state until he received assurances from the federal government that proper security measures had been taken.

LOUISIANA

Gov. Bobby Jindal — a GOP presidential contender — said he wants more information from the White House "in hopes that the night of horror in Paris is not duplicated here." Jindal sent a letter to the White House on Saturday, demanding to know how many Syrian refugees have been resettled in his state. He also wants to know the extent of background screening before Syrians entered the U.S. United States as well as what monitoring would be done once the refugees make it to Louisiana.

MAINE

Gov. Paul LePage said it is "irresponsible" to allow Syrian refugees into the country in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. The Republican governor, who said he does "not know for certain" if Maine has any Syrian refugees right now, plans to point out in a radio address on Monday that one of his first actions as governor was to prevent Maine from serving as a "sanctuary state" for people living in the country without legal permission.

MASSACHUSETTS

Gov. Charlie Baker says he's opposed to allowing more Syrian refugees into Massachusetts in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris and that he wants to know much more about the federal government's vetting process before allowing them into the state. Democratic Boston Mayor also says he wants to know about how the federal government screens refugees.

MICHIGAN

Gov. Rick Snyder had bucked many fellow Republican leaders by welcoming refugees to Michigan, which has a large Arab-American population. But he said Sunday that the state is postponing efforts to accept refugees until federal officials fully review security procedures and clearances. Snyder said that while he is proud of the state's history of immigration, its "first priority is protecting the safety of our residents."

MISSISSIPPI

Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday that he's trying to find out if there are any plans by the federal government to relocate any Syrian refugees in the state and if there are the Republican said he will "do everything humanly possible" to stop it.

TEXAS

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday ordered Texas' refugee resettlement program not to accept any more Syrians in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks. In a letter to Obama, the Republican also urged scrapping federal plans to accept more Syrian refugees into the country as a whole. He said the federal government can't perform "proper security checks" on Syrians.

WISCONSIN

Gov. Scott Walker said in September that the United States should not take in any more refugees from Syria and now, in the wake of the terrorist attack in Paris, Republican leaders of the Wisconsin state Assembly are saying the same thing. They're circulating a letter they plan to send to President Barack Obama's administration saying they don't want any Syrian refugees.